Banning bump stocks – what’s next? Rubber bands? Bungee cords? Belt loops?
As pleased as we’ve been with having a huge 2nd Amendment advocate in the White House, and an even greater show of support with two new solid pro-gun jurists on the Supreme Court, we remain deeply frustrated with the federal ban on bump stocks. The ban is pointless – it’s nothing more than a ridiculous solution in search of a problem that has absolutely nothing to do with guns. And that’s why Gun Owners of America (GOA) is waging a robust battle against it.
GOA is our federal counterpart, and they have taken the lead on getting this policy reversed (officially in place as of March 26, 2019). This week they requested the Supreme Court issue a stay of enforcement of the ban, which meant the ban would not have gone into effect until such time that the court could rule on the initial case which challenged the ban on Constitutional issues. That case is still in district court. Unfortunately, the Supreme Court denied the stay and the ban is in full effect. To be clear – the case regarding the ban is still very much alive, but our efforts to delay the ban until a final judicial resolution is in place was not successful.
“Gun Owners of America is disappointed that the Supreme Court has refused to issue a stay while our challenge to the administration’s illegal bump stock ban is being considered by the courts.”
Gun Owners of America (GOA) legislative counsel, Michael Hammond, in response to the Supreme Court’s denial of a stay on the enforcement of the bump stock ban.
Talks about banning bump stocks began in earnest following the horrific 2017 Las Vegas massacre. GOA has consistently spoken in opposition to the prohibition because it wouldn’t make a dent in gun crimes nor would it have prevented that monster from committing his atrocious act two years ago. GOA’s Executive Director Erich Pratt says the ban represents “an arbitrary and illegal reversal by a federal agency which for years has ruled bump stocks to be legal firearm accessories. Federal law is clear and does not apply to bump stocks.”
Pratt cautions “the regulation as written endangers the legality of semi-automatic rifles, as the ATF’s new regulations open the door to further legal manipulation to ban these common rifles in the future, and “Finally, the ban violates the Constitution’s Takings Clause, forcing the destruction of property of law-abiding individuals without compensation.”
Without question, these are logical concerns and point to why the ban should be repealed, but as we’ve seen in the media, bump stocks generate a lot of opinion and raw emotion, no matter how illogical.
That being said, though, the implications are far more significant than most realize, and could impact every single American – gun owner or not. The most serious and underlying question is whether the government should be able to change long-standing, clear and unambiguous definitions and regulations in order to achieve a politically motivated goal.
Of course not, says the sensible American.
This, however is precisely what the Department of Justice’s bump stock ban has done – it has swapped out existing definitions that have been trusted, cited and quoted by the courts and the federal governments for decades. If a switcheroo is possible for distinct, legally applied and explicit definitions, there is no telling to what extreme some bureaucrat could take this.
To quote GOA’s petition to SCOTUS, “As Applicants have noted, were the government to claim that the statute is now confusing or unclear, that would conflict with numerous past court opinions that have said otherwise and could put countless past criminal prosecutions in jeopardy.”
This is positively frightening.
California, ahead of the game when it comes to suppressing Constitutional rights, has had it’s own bump stop ban, even prior to the Las Vegas shootings. That did not stop the wide-eyed anti-gunners from introducing a bill in response to Las Vegas that was already state law. Wait – already state law? It was a ridiculous effort, but that’s how we roll here sometimes. Politicians are big on recreating the wheel just to get their name in the press…
Even if GOA is successful in reversing the ban, California’s heavy anti-gun handed bump stock ban will still stand. Unfortunately.
To stay up-to-date on GOA’s bump stock court case, click here.